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300 Migrants Fleeing Libya Feared Drowned; Gaddafi Writes to Obama

300 Migrants Fleeing Libya Feared Drowned; Gaddafi Writes to Obama

The crisis in Libya continues, seemingly with no end in sight and tragic consequences. Early on Wednesday, a boat carrying some 350 migrants fleeing Libya capsized in heavy seas and high winds off of Sicily, the Guardian reports. At least 300 are feared dead; Italian rescue workers’ efforts to find survivors are being hampered by three-meter waves and powerful winds. The migrants were from Somalia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sudan, Chad and Ivory Coast.

Said one of the survivors, 28-year-old Peter Ugo from Cameroon:

“The war is too much…they steal our property, steal our money every day. They try to threaten us to leave [Libya] or they will kill us. Or they give us guns to fight against Gaddafi. We were not able to face the fight.”

So far, approximately 20,000 illegal immigrants, most from Tunisia, have reached Italy this year. The swelling numbers of migrants from northern African are causing tensions throughout Europe, with France seeking to make its border impenetrable and Italy increasingly overwhelmed by the masses of migrants who have come to its shores.

Gaddafi’s Letter to Obama

Col. Muammar el-Gaddafi sent a three-page letter to President Obama in which he begged for an end to the NATO-led air campaign, calling it an “unjust war against a small people of a developing country.” He addressed Obama as “our son” and “excellency” and wished him good luck in the next election. The letter was sent to the US State Department and forwarded to the White House and reads, in part (as the Guardian quotes from the ‘rambling’ letter):

“You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action…I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that.”

…”We have been hurt more morally [than] physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you…Despite all this you will always remain our son whatever happened. We still pray that you continue to be president of the USA. We Endeavour and hope that you will gain victory in the new election campaign.”

“To serving world peace…friendship between our peoples…and for the sake of economic, and security cooperation against terror, you are in a position to keep Nato off the Libyan affair for good.”

Gaddafi also referred to the NATO-led airstrikes as an “unjust war against a small people of a developing country” and claimed, as he has before, that Al-Qaeda is backing the rebel forces based in the city of Benghazi.

The US has rebuffed the letter, says the BBC. Commenting on the letter, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Mr Gaddafi knows what he must do.”

US Congressman in Tripoli

The BBC also reports that a US Congressman, Curt Weldon, is now in Tripoli at the invitation of the Libyan government. The White House was informed about Weldon’s visit in advance and has emphasized that he is not acting as an official envoy. Weldon says that he intends to advise Gaddadi to “step aside” to pull his forces back from western cities under siege, and to suggest that the rebel forces not try to advance any further eastwards.

The Rebel Fighters, An Amateur Army

Both the BBC and the New York Times note that the rebel fighters simply do not “add up to an army” and that they are “enthusiastic but ill-disciplined, despite attempts by the few former regular soldiers among their ranks to try to coordinate their operations” and train them. It is, says the BBC, indeed,

a safe bet that after firing off their rockets and mortars in the general direction of the enemy, the same rebels will come charging back, unable or unwilling to dig in and take on Col Gaddafi’s better-trained troops.

The rebels, according to the New York Times, range in age from 18 to 60 and are students, laborers, engineers and businessmen. They are mostly visible as “groups of self-led fighters in cars and pickup trucks, who move up and down the highway to Brega, where the Qaddafi forces have plugged the road to Tripoli and taken custody of essential oil infrastructure.”

But can the rebels’ enthusiasm survive a drawn-out conflict and ground war in Libya?

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Massacre In Misrata – Update On Libya

US Withdraws Support For Yemeni President; 12 Killed in Protests

Gaddafi’s Son Reportedly Proposes Peace Plan; Turkish Ship Aids Wounded Libyans [VIDEO]

NATO Airstrike Said to Kill 13 Rebels in Libya

Stalemate in Yemen as Tens of Thousands Protest on Friday of Enough

Libya’s Foreign Minister Defects, Rebels Retreat, CIA in Libya

 

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Photo taken in the city of Ras Lanuf on March 8, 2011, by بكة برق | B.R.Q

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37 comments

+ add your own
8:24AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

get this man out

4:58PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Yes, but the US has no place in that struggls. I believe that our interventions, and the meddling of other countries excacerbated and have created much of the anguish in the Middle East. We need to get out and stay out of the Middle East. Period!

11:03AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

I think as an African i can see why the western countries are being reviled. Qaddafi as a leader is a great example of development consciousness in Africa. He has developed his country greatly and supports quite a number of projects in various African countries and guess what? All without the help of these western countries. To developed countries advancing without their aid or loans is unheard of. In fact if they dont have their claws dug deep into you, to control you, your president is a dictator and any opposition to influence makes you insurgents. I'm not in support of dictatorship or terrorism. I believe in human rights and leaders who effect them. But looking carefully in Africa these countries trying to save us from ourselves discriminate so greatly all because they want the oil. Case in point why didn't they come in in Ivory Coast or even Darfur? Am sure that even a 'Dictator' like Qaddafi is not averse to dialogue. Painting him with mud first is just so much easier. If oil was not in the picture we'd actually all believe that the intention was true.

3:14AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

American Media misleads public">

10:55AM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

You cannot expect sense from a dictator...no matter how old is he and his sons are no better,the quicker we get him and his family out the better for these people!

The situation in Libya is tragic but no one can expect ....europe to.... AGAIN take more immigrants...we have TOO MANY already dispite what our governements wants to believe and the ordinary person is the street is fed up having HIS TAX money spend on ...again..more emmigrants!

WHERE ARE THE ARAB NATIONS with all their oil money...why dont you help YOUR brothers...instead of the west who you blame for everything??????????????????

8:05AM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

bloody hillary clinton, i hate her

8:04AM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

how dare the evil ghaddafi talk nonsense to OBAMA with this ridicolous letter full of LIES LIES LIES

10:05PM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Truly unbelievable. Gaddhafi asks for peace, instead more tough talk by Hillary. I say, give this man a chance. Since, Gaddhafi is such a ruthless dictator that kills his own people, or at least this is the propaganda that he is getting from the western press.

We can see two things happen and I can bet that the air strikes continue, the villainization of Gaddhafi continues, and the replacement of Gaddhafi takes place. The other thing that is less likely, is Gaddhafi makes peace with NATO and he is restored as leader of Libya, with weakened powers.

Please, would the West bother with Gaddhafi if he had no oil? Of course not! He is a pain in the neck to the elites of the oil industry as well as the IMF. He resisted and nationalized his country, that is the oil, also. So, he is the enemy and the target of the CIA, as happened to other countries with dictators and oil. Generally capitalist entities attack and have overthrown for less than oil, but in this case, we have a tendency to make the capitalists at work in the background as the military does the dirty work.

I should equate the American middle class in the same situation as Libyan citizens. Finally we are fighting back the unscrupulous "take no prisoner" capitalists. Yes, that means Obama, the same person who conspired with Wall St, as his staff were all banker and higher ups. We see utter colusion of defrauding America. Libya is a takeover no different than the takeover of America. Americans, wake up. You are

8:33PM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Thank you for the article.

5:47PM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Tragic situation.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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